Out Now: “Trust, but Verify”

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The Politics of Uncertainty & the Transformation of the Cold War Order, 1969-1991

Edited by Martin Klimke, Reinhild Kreis, and Christian Ostermann
Washington, DC/Redwood City, CA: Wilson Center Press/Stanford University Press, forthcoming November 2016

U.S. President Ronald Reagan once famously quipped, “Nations do not mistrust each other because they are armed. They are armed because they mistrust each other.” Yet although Cold War angst (e.g., of nuclear annihilation) shaped the relationship between the ideological blocs, particularly in the 1950s and 1960s, the final two decades of the era—from the period of détente starting in the late 1960s to the gradual rapprochement between the United States and the Soviet Union in the 1980s—saw Cold War policy grow more flexible and diverse as each side sought to escape the orthodoxy of mutual assured destruction and deterrence.

These transformations profoundly affected relations between the two superpowers and caused uncertainties within both blocs, so that the second half of the Cold War was characterized by a complex mixture of fear and trust, which manifested itself, among other things, in confidence-building and risk-taking.

This volume uses the categories of trust and confidence to explore and reevaluate these dynamics for the final two decades of the Cold War.

For more, please see here.